"It's basically our opportunity to reach out to a lot of fans who haven't been here," said Mike Landeen, the senior vice president of venue services and operations for the Mets. "A lot of the local fans know what we have to offer, but it's definitely our catering and culinary staffs' opportunity to really show what we have here at Citi Field. We feel as though we have raised the bar."
Citi Field and ARAMARK have put together what they're calling the "Culinary All-Stars" for the event, bringing in nine visiting chefs, 30 visiting managers, 40 local managers, 85 in-seat vendors and 2,500 employees.
ARAMARK expects to serve 37,000 hot dogs, 28,357 bottles of water, 13,700 soft pretzels, 12,500 burgers, 7,800 bags of peanuts, 3,000 pounds of chicken tenders and 250 gallons of ice cream during All-Star Weekend.
They won't just serve the basic ballpark food, though. Robert Flowers, ARAMARK's executive chef at Citi Field, has worked together with other chefs to put together a menu filled with every option a fan could imagine.
"When we first heard we were going to be hosting the All-Star Game, we were very excited," Flowers said. "We knew that this was our greatest opportunity since 2009 Opening Day to showcase our culinary talent, our food and, of course, our great hospitality."
Flowers put together a menu that features dishes from all over the country and the world, offering everything from chicken pipian tacos to beef brisket sliders to grilled shrimp po boys. There are also Greek gyros, a caprese Panini, Colorado frenched lamb chops, and assorted sushi and sashimi.
The signature dish is the All-Star Meatball Hero, featuring a recipe passed down in Flowers' family for 300 years.
"One of the biggest things we have to think about this time is that we're not just taking care of local fans," Flowers said. "We're going worldwide now. So we want to make sure that we put the best food that we can out there."
Of course, there will also be plenty of New York favorites. Working together with local partners Two Boots Pizza, Mama's of Corona, Daruma Sushi, Pat LaFrieda's Chop House, Blue Smoke, El Verano Taqueria, Catch of the Day, Shake Shack and Box Frites, ARAMARK has a lot of local flavor to offer.
There will be Nathan's Famous hot dogs, classic New York deli pastrami sandwiches, a Brooklyn Burger, various types of pizza and Italian heroes.
There will also be a burger inspired by the Mets' own Keith Hernandez, featuring a 6 oz. patty on a toasted sesame bun with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, dill pickles, raw onion, mayo, ketchup and mustard.
"In 2009, we really looked at who could really help us emphasize and showcase the taste of New York City," said Tom Funk, the general manager of ARAMARK at Citi Field. "So we partnered with some of the best chefs in restaurateurs that Manhattan, Queens, the local areas have to offer."
With all the delicious food available in concession stands around the stadium, there's a chance fans might spend the entire weekend eating rather than watching the events on the field.
Not that Flowers would mind, though.
"I'm OK with that," Flowers said, laughing. "MLB is probably not, but I'm OK with that."